On This Day in Napoleonic History – 15 June 1815

15Louis-Alexandre Berthier dies

Marshal Berthier, Napoleon’s faithful Chief of Staff, fell to his death from a window on the third floor of his Bamberg castle. Although many historians see foul play in the way Berthier had died, it is unknown whether it was suicide, murder or an accident.

For nearly two decades Berthier had translated the Emperor’s wishes into decisive military orders, making the greatest French victories possible. Berthier’s absence over the coming weeks was a serious blow to Napoleon and the Emperor himself later claimed that he had dire need of Berthier’s services in 1815 and that, had he been present, the French would have triumphed at Waterloo. ‘As Chief of Staff, Berthier has no equal,’ said Napoleon.